The past couple of days have been lesson/exercise days. It's an amazing experience when your horse "hooks up" (also known as joining up) with you. It's that instant "click" when you both understand each other and your horse reads the signals you give. Cookie and I figured it out. Not that we hadn't before, we just sort of lost it somewhere along the way.
We have been working on exercising for longer periods. She's doing great and I'm still lagging some, but we are getting there. We've also been working on turning without ear pinning, moving in all directions with my body movement rather than using the lunge and driving whip to point the way. So far, it's going alright. There's always room for improvement.
Backing up is still sometimes an issue for her, or maybe it's with her. I am trying different ways, to get better results from her. Finding what works best for her. I can tell she is sensitive, though she was man handled in training. She can get rather lazy and I'm sure bored with these exercises. The better she gets, the less we review. I can now stand approximately 10' from her and ask her to back up a few steps and she will do it. I also have been using less voice cues.
Side passing still needs work. She still moves her front and rear independently and often times will swing her butt around instead of moving the front. Today, she showed great progress when I gently touched her side and held up one hand near mid neck. Aha! Maybe that's the ticket? We tried a few more times and got it good on both sides.
Move your butt. She does very well with this and I can ask her to move her butt from anywhere at any time and she takes a few hind steps to the side away from me.
Move your front. This has been difficult for her to catch on to. Not sure why. She seems to be very heavy in the front. She will cross her feet over a couple of times and then swings the butt. I think I will try something a bit different next time by getting her to shift her weight to the rear and then crossing her feet.
Sometimes she tries really hard and others I have to wake her up, get her attention and then try the exercise or lesson. I have learned to ignore her head tossing as it is a sign to speed me up. I've also learned when she does it if I "snake" my body and hands at her she moves off and away from me. I have learned she also doesn't have much bend in the middle. She plants those front feet and swings around so moving her to where she sets back on her hinds more may just loosen up that middle a bit.
She flexes very well both left and right, and is learning with very little pressure to drop her head down to about my waist. At the end of our lessons, I have her drop her head and give her a face and neck massage. By the time I'm done she's so sleepy eyed. I don't take treats out with me anymore, but instead I make her wait for me to go get one. Sometimes she waits, other times she looks around the side to see if I'm coming out the other door. lol She is learning on whoa-stay. Sounds like it should be more for a dog right? It's the same principal as ground tying. I'm just indicating to her not to run off somewhere, I'll be right back. She's doing pretty good with this, not great, but good.
Whistle-come up. This is a new lesson. One she will be sure to make us both work for, and the reason I stopped taking treats out with me when it's exercise time. lol I want her to come up to me when I whistle. That way if we're off on a trail ride somewhere and I dismount for whatever reason I can call her back to me with a whistle. Heaven forbid, if she should ever get out and take off somewhere, get lost or what have you, I want to know she'll come up to me when I whistle. I have a back up should she fail to come to me and that's plastic wrapped peppermints. lol They might be unhandy to always carry around, but I know she loves the sound of rustling plastic because there is always a treat involved.
We're learning new ways of doing things and eventually I'll add a few new things to the mix just to give her something new to do. So far the "booby traps" I have set up have kept her out of the hay shelter until a gate can be put up. They aren't really traps, it's more like things are tied down very well. lol
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